Archive for the ‘Content creators’ Tag

Always Hope for Rebel; Support the SL Designer

I’ve been staying out of reporting or voicing an opinion on the DMCA suit filed against Linden Lab by Munchflower Zaius and Stroker Serpentine, chiefly because I’ve had no opinion either way on the outcome of the suit, and also because others such as Hamlet Au have better sources and resources to report on this piece of news.  I’m not going to step in where I’m only half informed on a subject, if I can help it; that just gets controversy instead of solution going.  However, I sympathize with the creators of original content when it comes to having their hard work and sweat ripped off, since their work is being stolen by creatures who are little better than slime mold on the soles of our Stiletto Moodys.

Now comes the most blatant piece of copy theft yet.  According to sources, someone came in to the Woodshed sims owned by clothes designer Rebel Hope and RH Engel, and copied everything.  Rebel quickly complained to Linden Lab, but the damage has been done; the thieves have since distributed everything to the Grid at large. Read the rest of this entry »

Linden Lab Promises a Reply on Trademark Issue to Blogger — Updated

New World Notes‘ Wagner James (Hamlet) Au reports that a press representative for Linden Lab has told him that the Lab will issue a statement on the Second Life branding issue concerning many of SL’s bloggers sometime Friday or Monday.

In his article, Wagner states that he received an E-mail from Peter Gray of Lewis PR, the public relations firm working for Linden Lab, promising the statement. No specific time was announced for its release, nor was any information disclosed on what the statement would contain. Wagner is a former in-house blogger for Linden Lab. The statement may be in response to the call for clarification issued by Gwyneth Llewelyn on her blog, which has been reprinted in the same article by Wagner along with the note from Peter Gray. Gwyneth is calling for a 3-day strike of SL bloggers, beginning April 15, if no satisfactory response is made to her request; this call is meeting with support from some bloggers, based on reading of the ongoing discussion at the SL Bloggers group on Ning.

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An interesting hat — copyrighted, of course

It’s uncertain at this point just how much notice the larger community of Residents is giving to the trademark flap. In a thoroughly unscientific examination, I wore Kit Meredith’s attachment (pictured above) yesterday to the daily Morning Coffee at the Blarney Stone in Dublin. Nobody asked me to explain it, and I was there for two hours. I presume they all thought I was wearing a Funny Hat, and left it at that. I intend to repeat the experiment today for a span of time, and see if the results are better.

The more libertarian bloggers worry that another freedom is being cut out from under the community without its noticing, citing such examples as the gambling and banking ban. I myself, though, don’t see this turning into another Tea Crate Rebellion at any time in the near future. It all depends on how much the SL public perceives this as affecting them. It could affect them by putting a chill on discussion and reportage; if bloggers don’t know what the exact requirements are for them, or can’t meet those requirements easily, then they’ll likely stop writing. This is already threatened, at least in part, by the strike action planned by Gwyn. If the bloggers shut down, then Linden Lab will be losing tons of free publicity that their previous easy trademark policy fostered — the publicity that drove knowledge of the Second Life brand to over 10,000,000 people who have signed up.

Linden Lab does have the right to defend their brands; there is no question there. But, since they have created the community that has, in return, helped drive subscribers to their service, it is incumbent on LL to clarify the situation at the very least. It would also be a simple courtesy as well.

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UPDATE, March 29:

Ham hasn’t published any statement on NWN from Linden Lab, so we appear to need to wait for a word from them until sometime Monday. If it appears before 12:00 p.m. SLT, I’ll work to get at least a link to the comment in a new article.

In the meantime, check out the following for fresh discussions from important bloggers in this controversy:

Harper’s signature

SL Brand Center — Followup

An interesting hat — copyrighted, of course

As I was getting ready to write this, I punched up Reuters’ Second Life site to see what the latest was from the professionals, if anything. Only I was greeted with — silence. At the best, secondlife.reuters.com is churning without loading a page, or Firefox told me that the domain was “taking too long to respond.” We can interpret this in four ways:

  1. secondlife.reuters.com is overloaded right now.
  2. It’s Maintenance Time. (Hopefully not PM — as in “provocative maintenance,” which creates more problems than it solves [grin].)
  3. Reuters is taking the subdomain down (“by order” of their lawyers) to set up a new domain name, and it hasn’t propagated through the DNS yet. (Though a redirect could be quickly set up as well….)
  4. The one consistently publishing source of professional news in Second Life is pulling the plug, so as to take no chances with the new branding policy.

Only time will tell which one. I’ve been trying to connect since 7:00 a.m. RL, and nothing yet. (It’s currently 9:30.)

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In the time since Linden Lab’s announcement of the new SL branding policy, reaction in the out-world from Residents has been loud and thick. Here’s a list of the blogs and news reports I’ve found so far (after the break):

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Linden Lab “Tightens” Trademark Control (?)

Just to keep myself on the safe side of the lawyers, any “conclusions” as to the law obtained by me below are not necessarily correct legal opinion or precedent, and should not be regarded as such. So don’t rely on my word for it, folks. All I can claim is that, having seen some experience with these things over my time, I think I’m pretty close to how the real world works with these questions.

Yesterday, Linden Lab announced through the Big Blog the creation of its “Second Life Brand Center,” which lays out strong, explicit rules and examples of how its various trademarks and service marks may be used. “Discussion” started quickly in the comments section to the announcement article; and, across 139 comments (as of this writing), the consensus has been strongly — if not almost universally — sarcastic, disparaging, and just plain negative. At least one commenter suggested that LL might be preparing for an initial public stock offering, and is trying to establish control of tangible and intangible assets, which trademarks certainly are to a company. (Witness the trademark inspectors who were running around restaurants during the Seventies and Eighties at the height of the Cola Wars, making sure that waitresses identified their product as their product.) Many were angry that, while LL is taking steps to protect their copyrighted material, the company seems unwilling to do anything to protect the same rights for Resident merchants.

In reality, this kind of lawyerly comedown is not that new. Any subscriber to, say, Writer’s Digest will see batches of ads several times a year imploring authors to refer only to Kleenex™ facial tissues or Frigidaire™ refrigerators, etc. This is to protect their brand name and market position, since excessive use in a generic way forces the name into the public domain. That’s why we have Velcro, and then we have everyone else making “hook-and-eye fastener strips.”

My (legally uninformed) take on how this will affect most of us after the break….

Read the rest of this entry »

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